Monday, November 30, 2015

Humans of Downey - Andy and Betty (2/2)

Betty Wolfe

"That, that’s what’s really hard!"
"Anyway, that’s how it all starts out. And then I work how I’m going to do the joints. Got to figure it all out before I start chopping the wood."
"You know what, you ought to get a picture of that arm he just had."
"They really don’t look like an arm yet."
"No, but… what she’s showing, people don’t realize how much work was put into this."
"Well, rather than just having straight sticks, you know, for arms, like a scarecrow."
"Big Woody has golf balls in his arms, all his joints."
"Well, for the ball joints, I used golf balls attached to a doweling."
"And this one here, he made himself and put it in there, I don’t know how he did it, but…

"It’s something he enjoys immensely, and it’s got to be exactly right, or he redoes it."

Betty Wolfe

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Humans of Downey - Andy and Betty (1/2)

Andy Wolfe Woodworker

"Actually, how this started, he was sitting in the house reading and I thought too much, and I said, 'You have to move.' So I said, 'You know what, can you make a little Woody out of some more of…' This one here, this guy here, he came off the woodpile."

"Well, actually, I made this one before I made the other one. And I didn’t like this one, so I made another one. And I’ve redone this one a little bit to make him configure more to a small child rather than a man."

"So anyhow, I asked him if he would make a little Woody. And then he goes right out into the garage and pretty soon I see him chopping away at the wood and this is what has come out."

"Well, first I had to figure out what I was going to do. [Much laughter.] How I was going to make all his joints and which way they’re gonna move and..."

"He does everything exactly right. This is one of his drawings of the hand and so forth."

"Yeah, well, that and that… [flips through many pages of detailed sketches] and that…To begin with, you know, I just set out the dimensions and everything. So how I’m going to make the arms and the hands and the feet and the legs and all of that. I use the dimensions of generally my size and I scale it down or up according to what kind of person I want to make. You know, the relationship between the size of the head and the arms and the waist to the chin, and to the length of the legs and all that. I’ll keep everything in proportion. Try to, anyway."

"That, that’s what’s really hard!"

Andy Wolfe Woodworker

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The season of light

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It is not quite December, but the glow of Christmas lights has begun to show on houses in the neighborhood.

IMG_7380 as Smart Object-1Some of my favorite memories of Christmastime are evenings wandering past homes made magical, covered in lights, dispelling the darkness.

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“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.”
~ Aaron Rose

Friday, November 27, 2015

I love my DPD

Support Downey Police Department

In the wake of last month's murder of Downey Police Officer Ricky Galvez, the community has come together to show their support for the police in big ways and small.

Support Downey Police DepartmentOne of the ways is with blue lights. Whether it's as simple as switching out the porch light bulb for a blue light, stringing blue lights in the shape of hearts, or the full-size display above, Downey residents say "I love my Downey police department."

Thursday, November 26, 2015


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Leftovers for Thanksgiving are one of the best parts of the day. I couldn't believe how much food we had this year. We are a group who likes food and likes to share the work. So, we do Thanksgiving potluck.

IMG_7374 as Smart Object-1It was an incredible day. Every dish was amazing! Of course, we had the typical turkey and ham, but then there was the green bean casserole, mac & cheese, butternut squash, mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, scalloped potatoes, Waldorf salad, and a kale salad. And that doesn't even talk about the extras.

I read on a Thanksgiving website that the first Thanksgiving was a three-day harvest feast held by the founders of the Plymouth Colony in 1621. We clearly had enough food for a three-day feast. Maybe that is a new tradition we need to start.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give thanks with a grateful heart

Thanksgiving decorations

House decorations seem to flourish at Halloween and Christmas. But Thanksgiving is typically a simpler theme, with maybe a few pumpkins and a garland of fall leaves.

So it was fun to see this house with its message to "Give Thanks," with the Pilgrims (and their turkeys) ready to welcome their guests to their table.

A safe and happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Humans of Downey - Leslie and Andrew


"One of my favorite moments I look back on is my first baseball game with my dad when I was seven. I had perfect attendance at school so I won tickets to a game. So I went with my father and it's one of my favorite memories that I look back on a lot. I don't remember all the specifics of the game, who was playing or what happened in the game but I remember being with my dad.

"When I found out that my mom was going to have another child, Andrew my brother, it has guided me to decide what I wanted to major in in college. I'm in my second year of college and I decided I wanted to major in Child Development. It was a struggle at first. I was trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do and I realized what I wanted was to work with children. I feel that when Andrew was born there has been more excitement in my life, there have been more happy moments, and I really like that."
~ Leslie

Monday, November 23, 2015

Humans of Downey - Margaret


"Sometimes we transport patients from one hospital to another hospital. I love it when I get an elderly patient that's feeling miserable but all they want is to see a dance or for me to sing to them. That's all. And that is really funny because you can have a terrible voice but in the back of that ambulance you sing to them or do a little jig, they become the happiest people I've ever seen. That's all they want. It's very simple. And that's funny, how the simple things of life can put a smile on someone's face. And that makes my day."
~ Margaret

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Shorter days

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It seems like overnight, the trees in Downey have begun to change color. This stand of trees lines the center island of Paramount Blvd.  I don't know how long I have driven past them as they were starting to change colors, but all of a sudden I noticed it this week—an explosion of color.

IMG_7277The shorter days and longer, colder nights of the fall season contribute to the leaves changing colors.

"Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree." 
~ Emily Bronte, Fall leaves, fall

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Abandonment issues

Abandoned grocery cart

Rogue grocery carts—we see them loose in our neighborhoods. February is “National Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket” month. I know it's not February yet, but hopefully, this cart won't have to wait until then to get returned to its rightful owner.

“National Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket” month is not quite a holiday. It’s more of an awareness-raising event, created by a frustrated grocer. Anthony Dinolfo launched the event back in 1969, the year that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon . (“I wouldn’t be surprised if he found a shopping cart in one of the craters,” Dinolfo once told an interviewer.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dispelling the darkness

Ricky Galvez Memorial

The news is full of senseless tragedies these days. The number of deaths in Paris a week ago are truly appalling. But sometimes the magnitude of the numbers make us forget that each number boils down to the loss of a single life. Whether it is one or 130, each death represents a single family in grief.

Ricky Galvez MemorialSuch is the death this week of Downey Police Department Officer Ricky Galvez, 29 years old, who was shot and killed Wednesday night in a botched robbery attempt. His family, friends, coworkers, and many others gathered together Thursday afternoon and evening to share their grief. Many brought flowers. And many stayed for a candelight ceremony after darkness fell.

"Yes, Beauty will overcome. This too we know intuitively and so we bring flowers to express that longing, to cover the evil stain, to visually remind ourselves and others that Good remains alive. All will be made right … in time."
"Instinctively we seek the light and its warmth. Darkness-piercing candles remind us there is hope. In lighting them our souls are pleading for the Light of Heaven to dispel the darkness. Both now and forever."
~ Barbara Rainey

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Humans of Downey - Lindsay


"We met here in Los Angeles when I was visiting my friend. I'm from New York and I was here during New Years of 2004-05. We dated cross-country for a while, then I moved out here later that year. My friend took me to a gathering at the Bonaventure Hotel where my future husband and his friends were also gathering. In the beginning of the relationship, our time together was with the group. Our first alone date was when he came to New York city to visit me. We had a great time taking in the sites of New York City.

"I work at Pioneer Medical Group, which is located next to the Downey Hospital (PIH) in the blue building. I'm a physician's assistant specializing in rheumatology. I was trained in New Jersey at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey located on a Rutgers campus. Physician's assistants are very prevalent on the East Coast. When I came here 10 years ago, it was not very common to have physician's assistants in a doctor's practice. But, since it is such a cost-effective method to provide health care, they are utilizing more physician's assistants and nurse practitioners here."

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Humans of Downey - Christopher


"When I was in high school, Mrs. Lopez, my geometry teacher, was like a second mom to me. She gave me extra attention and tutored me after school. She was always telling me to keep on the right track. So I took her words and applied them to her class. This gave me confidence and knowledge to accomplish the assignments of her class. So much so that I did very well in her class. It was such a help that I did well in other classes also.

"Because of this, I went out for the track team. I loved to run so I ran on the 400-yard relay team. It was a happy time of my life. Now I'm a student at Long Beach City College working toward a degree in business/fashion."
~ Christopher

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Porto's for dinner

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It's only Tuesday and it's been a long couple of days.

IMG_7263 as Smart Object-1With the time change added in, making it dark out before I even leave the office, I really don't feel like cooking when I get home. If it's dark out, it must be late, clearly too late to cook dinner. So, Porto's it is.

IMG_7267 as Smart Object-1

IMG_7269 as Smart Object-1Tonight it seems like the perfect place to pick up a quick dinner. Okay, so not quick, quick. There is always a line. But, it is worth the wait.

"Never eat more than you can lift. "  
~ Miss Piggy

Monday, November 16, 2015

A little inconvenience


Sometimes a lack of inspiration and a lack of cooperation coincide and result in a lack of pictures for DDP. Such was the case tonight, when my cat convinced me that she was more interesting than the couple of pictures I currently have in my backlog.

"Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause the most inconvenience."
– Pam Brown

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Added security

Jack-o-lantern security

Most Halloween decorations are put away by this time in November. But these Jack-o-lanterns along with a Minion super-hero appear to be staying on, perhaps as additional deterrents for this home security system.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Day's end

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The end of the day is my favorite. I like the warm, strong light when the sun in low in the sky. It is also a great time of the day to look for shadows. I found this tree shadow on my drive home one afternoon. The tree shadow actually looks dark green.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow." 
~ Leo Tolstoy

Friday, November 13, 2015


Arch and bell

I like the architectural details in this entryway—the arches, the coach lights, and of course the bell. I wonder if that's actually the doorbell. It would make a fun alternative to the modern doorbells that most of us have.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Beauty and imperfection

Tree branches

I've been sick the last few days and finally made it out today—but only as far as the park. So I'm experimenting with some special effects on the tree branches that I love to look at.

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice its knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully."
~ Matthew Fox

Tree branches

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A veteran at the beach


Today is Veteran's Day, November 11, 2015. This veteran took full advantage of the holiday. First, my work gave me the day off (along with everybody else). My wife made banana pancakes for breakfast this morning. We then played a round of golf and I paid the veteran's price for it. Later, we went to Ruby's Diner in Seal Beach and I had a free Ruby's Classic burger with cheese, fries, and a root beer. We then found a Starbucks nearby and my wife got a free coffee since she is the spouse of a veteran.

On Monday, I wrote about the fact that Downey is within driving distance to the mountains. Well, it is also only 30 minutes from several beaches. After dinner and the coffee, we went to the Seal Beach pier. It was so clear that Catalina looked close enough you might think you could swim the 26 miles. I was going to say, "walk the 26 miles," but you have to be pretty special to walk there.

I hope you enjoyed your Veteran's Day and you told a veteran, "Thanks for your service."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The golden hour

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The Waikiki sunset can be quite magical. The golden glow seemed to turn the surface of the water into ever-shifting colors. It all added to the magic. Even this paddle boarder seemed to glide across the water with little effort.

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." 
Francis of Assisi

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mountain men


This past weekend I participated in a men's retreat at Alpine Conference Center, which is near Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino mountains. It's one of the benefits of living in Downey. Having mountains less than 2 hours away. The camp is located at 5,300 ft., which made for a very cold weekend.

The highlight of the weekend was winning the "King of the Hill" competition. It consists of four events that replicated events that the mountain men engaged in during their annual Rendezvous. Our prize was the cast iron skillet used in one of the events.

DSC_0640“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
― John Muir, Our National Parks

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Third Street

3rd Street Downey

The other night as I walked back to my car after visiting Día de los Muertos Art Festival, I noticed this view from the Civic Center up 3rd Street. The view ends a half mile away at the Rives Mansion. It felt like small-town America.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Surf's up

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Yesterday Pam wrote about visiting the USS Arizona. Today we are exploring the North Shore of Oahu. Here, many people surf, old and young. These pictures are from a legendary beach on the North Shore known as "Pipeline." The waves we saw today ranged from 4 - 7 feet. When the conditions are right, waves on this beach can be 30 feet high. And, it's all right off shore, a mere 40 yards into the ocean.

IMG_7066 as Smart Object-1Surfing rule #4 :  "Missing good waves across the world doesn't bother us, unless our friends are there to ride them, brag about them and post photos."

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Friday, November 6, 2015


USS Arizona

A memorial can honor one person, or many. At its simplest, a memorial might be just a headstone in a cemetery, such as the ones we've shown from the Downey Cemetery. Or, as in the wall above, it can honor the 1,102 seamen who died in the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. This wall is part of the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits just above the sunken ship.

"The Arizona is no longer in commission, but is an active U.S. military cemetery. As survivors of the attack on the Arizona pass away, many choose to have their ashes either scattered in the water over the ship, or have their urns placed within the structure of the ship reserved for the purpose. As a special tribute to the ship and her lost crew, the United States flag flies from the flagpole, which is attached to the severed mainmast of the sunken battleship." (Wikipedia)

USS Arizona

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Humans of Downey - Saru


"In my country, Nepal, my future husband and I worked at the same high school. He was a computer engineer teacher and I was a front office worker. First we were friends and then later, more. We married against our family's wishes since they wanted an arranged marriage. I am a Brahmin caste and he is from a lower caste and they didn't accept him so we married without our parent's permission.

"Our first date was at a cafe just two weeks after we had met. It was his birthday and he asked me, 'Let's go somewhere.' So, I went, just like that. After we had gone together for four years, he came to America to work. Then, when he returned to Nepal, we got married and he brought me back to America."
~ Saru

Note: Saru is on the left in yellow. Her sister is on the right and was featured yesterday here. Their mom is in the middle.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Humans of Downey - Bidhya


"In our native country of Nepal, being a beautician is the family business. I came to the US in 2006. First I worked at the College of Beauty in Stonewood Mall for seven years. After this, I worked at another shop just across the street where I rented a chair. Then last year on Thanksgiving I opened my own shop here on Downey Avenue called Bidhya's. So this Thanksgiving will be one year of having my own business. I think that is a very happy thought.

"I met my husband in high school. We were friends first, then fell in love. But our family did not believe in "love marriages" so we eloped to get married. They were not very happy. We have been married ten years and have one son. We are very happy."
~ Bidhya

Note: Bidhya is on the right in blue. Her sister is on the left and she will be featured tomorrow. Their mom is in the middle.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sunrise walk

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I am in Waikiki for a work trip, and I can't help but be astonished by the beauty of a new day.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Food and photo ops

Dia de los Muertas Art Festival photo op

In addition to the skulls that abounded at the Día de los Muertos Art Festival yesterday, there were lots of places to pose for pictures. And each year, there is more food than the last year. This year, there were two rows of food trucks serving just about anything you could imagine.

Dia de los Muertas Art Festival food

Sunday, November 1, 2015

La Calavera Catrina

Downey Día de Muertos skullsDowney Día de Muertos skulls

Today was the third annual Día de los Muertos Art Festival. Every year, it has grown in size and popularity.

Día de Muertos face paintingFace-painting, especially the skeletal look, plays a big role in the traditional
Día de Muertos activities. In the early 1900s, "José Guadalupe Posada created a famous print of a figure he called La Calavera Catrina ("The Elegant Skull") as a parody of a Mexican upper-class female. Posada's striking image of a costumed female with a skeleton face has become associated with the Day of the Dead, and Catrina figures often are a prominent part of modern Day of the Dead observances." (Wikipedia)